In what is reminiscent of an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, surgeons at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in New York City have 3D printed a heart and saved the life of a two-week-old infant.
The infant had been born with a severe congenital heart defect, where the organ contained holes and an unusual structure, like a maze, Dr Emile Bacha, who performed the surgery on 21 July, told Connecticut local media.
Using data from an MRI scan on the infant, the surgeons 3D printed a copy of the infant’s heart – less than a third of the size of an adult’s hand – to help them study the heart and develop a strategy for the complicated surgery.
Their plan worked. The surgeons were able to repair the infant’s heart in one operation.
Normally, surgeons would have to stop the heart, open the patient’s chest, and determine the best course of action from there.
“With this technique, it was like we had a road map to guide us,” said Bacha.
Connecticut-based foundation Matthew’s Hearts of Hope funded the procedure.